Hi all, as a new vacation club owner we have decided to try and use our points awarded for flights to washington dc and orlando. however after banking points with Virgin i have tried ,with no luck to get any availibility for 20th september 2010! we are trying to get premium econmoy on our outward journey from london to dulles and hope to fly back business class from orlando. Has anyone any advice as how to get availibility? This is all new to us and any advice would be appreciated.
Welcome to MVC, I hope it proves to be good for you. I have been a member for 22 years, the first 20 were grand, but I find them rather poor at keeping their promise to provide amazing vacations in the last two years.
So onto airlines... I guess you know that they form 3 major alliances, One World, Star Alliance and Sky Team. I'm not sure were Virgin sits in this plan. The advantage is that points in one airline can be used on flights of a partner airline.
I place several of my points with British Airways and thereby One World Alliance. The secret is then to book early and get the 'free' seats - but do not forget the reservation attracts a large wodge of your money for taxes and other expenses. These charges can make your 'free' flight quite expensive.
Outside BA I use United and Star Alliance, as these can take me to places that One World doesn't, or does - but very slowly and indirectly! EG BA can take me to Bangkok, but points in United allow me to fly on Thai airlines straight into Phuket.
I also have an account with Delta, so that I can use flights with partners in Sky Team. However I don't need to use this to frequently.
You just have to remember not to leave too many unused points in any account, because often they have a short lifespan.
So to summarize, choose the best direct flight provider for your planned vacation route, ensure that you deposit your Marriott points with that airline, or your favoured provider in the relevant alliance. Book early, and you are all set. Just make sure that you get the planning correct as airlines will not refund points to Marriott.
Most airlines provide 'Open Jaw' and Stopovers. Do remember though that some have restrictive practises. For example: points in BA will get you a flight from London to New York, but they will not allow you to use their partner American Airlines with those points, because BA flies on that route with their own aircraft.